Week 15 Networks of Personalized Learning

Friday, March 23rd, 2012

Week 15. (April 23rd) Networks of Personalized Learning (e.g., language learning, tutoring, etc.)

  1. Audrey Williams June (2010, April 4). Some Papers Are Uploaded to Bangalore to Be Graded, Chronicle of Higher Education. http://chronicle.com/article/Outsourced-Grading-With/64954
  2. Steve Lohr. “Hello India? I Need Help with My Math,” New York Times (October 31, 2007), http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/business/worldbusiness/31butler.html?pagewanted=print
  3. Jon Swartz (2009, October 15). For social networks, it’s game on. USA Today. http://www.usatoday.com/tech/gaming/2009-10-15-games-hit-social-networks_N.htm
  4. Anne Eisenberg. “Learning from a Native Speaker, Without Leaving Home,” New York Times (February 17, 2008), http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/17/business/17novel.html

source:  http://www.safehaven.com/article/5997/outsourcing-homework

Wow the first article I read was about outsourcing a TA’s responsibility of giving each student feedback on their writing.  This is a clever idea, especially if it is affordable.    Instructors cannot do an effective job alone.  They need support so they can focus on the important things and not so much on the tedious work.

I think it is great that services can be provided by people from India or anywhere for that matter.  We need to open up the world and learn from each other.

I think it would be amazing if every student could have his or her own personal tutor.  Imagine the possibilities if each student’s skills could be analyzed by a tutor.  Personalized plans could be made, goals could be made and achieved.  I actually wouldn’t mind if our culture was more like the Asian culture in that our children were tutored after school.  It’s interesting that we admire them for their basic knowledge and  they admire us for our creativity. Working with a tutor after school, even for a little bit, could be extremely beneficial.  Older students could even tutor younger students.  I suppose this isn’t going to happen unless tutoring is affordable and becomes the norm.

It seems to me that if students were watched more closely by tutors, then concepts would not be misunderstood and most importantly, the students would not need remediation.  With all of the resources we have, I don’t understand why we still rely on one teacher to track a classroom-full of students.  How can teachers possibly track each students’ individual progress?  They can’t.  So what happens in traditional schools is either the students are passed on without understanding or they continue to struggle with basic concepts because no one noticed.  If it was noticed immediately, feedback was given, and the student had the opportunity to refocus, then I think teaching and learning might actually be effective.

One summer I took an Orton-Gillingham course.  We (teachers) brought in students so that we could practice using the program and at the same time help the students with their reading, spelling and writing skills.  The program boasted that reading levels would increase instantly.  I was skeptical as first.  But when I tutored the student I saw it happen right before my eyes.  The trick is simple but effective.  You first give the student a pre-test to assess what he knows and doesn’t know.  With this specific information, you design your instruction.  At this time, the student learns from his mistake and reinforces the skill correctly  during the instruction.  When the student takes the post-test, he naturally improves considerably.  The difference between a teacher and a tutor is the time to personalize instruction.  A tutor can patiently work with the student to diagnose the problems he or she is having, design appropriate instruction, and then reassess.  When I taught K/1, I tried to work with students individually during my lunch break and recess, but I never had enough time.  This is an important issue we need to deal with.  Students fall through the cracks because we don’t catch the small things in the beginning.  Its really a shame that we allow this to happen.

I would actually like a personal tutor for myself 🙂

The most effective language programs are the ones that allow the learner to practice speaking the language and get feedback from either a live person or a language system.  My experience has found that reading and completing exercises in a book are the least helpful for learning how to speak a new language.

If we could develop educational apps that are social and as addicting as Farmville, then I think the students might learn something.  I have stayed away from trying Farmville because I have seen how everyone else gets addicted to it.  Its actually annoying that people post their progress on Facebook all the time.  Nevertheless, if educational games could be addicting, then school might actually be fun.

One problem with these apps is that the novelty wears off.  After awhile the game becomes work or a chore or boring so it is not fun to play anymore.  Therefore, variety is good.

This is my final post for this class.  I have learned a lot from blogging.  It has forced me to really think about what I think on particularly topics.  It has also given me an opportunity to practice my writing and learn about web 2.0 technologies.

Tschuss!  Adios!  Au revoir!



2 comments on “Week 15 Networks of Personalized Learning

  1. brhoey says:

    This doesn’t HAVE to be the end of the blog =)

    Having been a tutor across a range of areas, it is truly a wonderful thing – especially when both individuals are tutoring each other. There doesn’t necessarily need to be a “Master” and “Student” relationship in tutoring, there can be (and usually is!) give and take. When I was an undergraduate at SUNY Potsdam, I had the opportunity to be a “Conversation Partner” for graduate students in elementary education from South Korea. My ‘job’ was to immerse them in the culture and the English language. It never stopped there, I think I learned as much, if not more, from my conversation partners as they did from me.

    Imagine if we could take this up to a global scale – I’ll risk life and limb and quote a Socialist principle: From each according to their ability, To each according to their need – Take this idea and apply it to a global tutoring system…I wonder what would happen? Cultural understanding, dialogue, friendships, a more Open world in more senses than just what we talk about in this class?

  2. I am going to have to play Devil’s Advocate with regard to the thoughts on the first reading. Is it possible to provide too much support or to overscaffold? What might be some of the drawbacks of having a tutor available at a student’s “beck and call”? I am hesitant in that it seem like we would be fostering a learned helplessness and that this may indeed undermine some of the autonomy inherent in a PLN.

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